“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” Brene Brown
That is what 34 couples did on a cold Saturday in January. They showed up, not sure what to expect, to a couple’s seminar at All Souls in London. Some had travelled a fair distance, setting off early to arrive for a 10 AM start.
I have watched this scene for the last five years at All Souls. Couples cautiously enter the doors of the church with nervous smiles. For our part, we assure them the day is just for them as a couple. They will not be asked to do any role play or share with anyone other than their partner. We want them to know they can relax and enjoy themselves.
Shoulders drop a bit.
Seated with their hot drinks, the couples are greeted by one of our facilitator couples who set the stage for the day. Now it is our turn to be courageous and let ourselves be seen. Our speaker couples are trained not only to share principles for developing healthy, intimate relationships, but we are also to share something of ourselves. This openness helps couples realise that they are not the only ones to go through ups and downs.
By the end of the first session on communication, we begin to see more relaxed faces in the audience. We repeat the process of sharing principles sprinkled with humorous and sometimes deeply personal and gritty stories. Throughout the rest of the day couples hear about how we avoid letting our differences divide us, how to resolve conflict, and how understand each other’s needs.
I have been on the side lines, working at roughly 18 A Day Together events with FamilyLife over the last few years. I am convinced that most couples can improve their relationship by courageously taking the small, intentional steps outlined throughout the day.
Through the feedback, we can see that we accomplish our aims of providing a relaxed environment where couples realise they are not alone (plenty of “Me too!” moments).
I am always touched to see how couples use their time together well, talking deeply about important things. From the side lines it seems the partners have taken time to share with each other. The feedback shows us that they listen well and consider their actions seriously in order to reap the benefits of the day.
Here are just a few comments from this recent event that might inspire you to be courageous and intentional in your relationships:
“A highlight of the day was talking about things we hadn’t discussed before, but were more important.”
Most important lesson: “Not to be so defensive and it’s not always about me.”
“There was a lot more understanding by the end of the day between us as a couple. Maybe we just needed a forum to get talking.
It so encouraging to read these and other comments. All Souls, we look forward to coming back to see you in 2018!